The Chartered Waste Manager at the Vale of Glamorgan Council, Colin Smith, explained the thought process behind the authority’s proposal to move to a subscription service for green waste collection at an environment and regeneration scrutiny meeting on Tuesday, February 14.
The charge will come in the form of an annual subscription payment for the collection of green waste once per fortnight between March and November.
However, a council report on the proposed changes to recycling waste collection identified a number of risks associated with the move, including a potential “failing” of recycling rates because of a low take up of the service.
Addressing members of the Vale of Glamorgan Council scrutiny committee on the risks, Mr Smith said: “It is not unique to the Vale of Glamorgan. It applies to all councils in Wales.”
However, some members proceeded to raise concerns about these during the meeting. Cllr Mark Hooper thought the risks involved with the service change had been underestimated.
He said: “This is a significant change to people and obviously you need to be able to sell to the Vale’s residents that they should go and do it.
“How do you market it to them? How do you go and attract people to it?”
As part of their proposed green waste subscription service, the council is looking at charging £36 per year per household for up to four bags per collection.
The charge is based on £4 per month and subscribers will have the option of a free ring and request service from December to February.
A council report on the green waste collection charges states that the council is contracted to “present (for composting) a minimum tonnage of 2,932 per year to our contractor under the current 15-year Organics contract (Food and green waste) in partnership with Cardiff City Council.”
The report adds that failure to produce enough green waste would result in the council paying for processing green waste which it has not collected.
Cllr Hooper added: “The risks that you have identified in the report, which I think you have slightly underestimated, personally, but accepting them as they are they are quite significant to our overall recycling targets and could have a significant financial impact as well.”
In response to Cllr Hooper’s questions and comment, Mr Smith said: “There is a unique selling point to it and I guess in reality we are forcing peoples’ hands a little bit aren’t we?
“Because they don’t have many options available to them other than take the subscription service out.”
He added: “It has been successful in other councils. They have provided that efficiently through online portals, making it easy for people to subscribe to the service.
“It has become efficient through route planning like you have with your Amazon packages.
“It makes it easier to route plan because from a service point of view, we don’t know how many subscribers there is going to be.”
The Vale of Glamorgan Council’s cabinet approved in principle the plans for the green waste collection charge at a meeting on January 19.
As part of the proposal, the charge for the green waste service will be introduced from July 1.